December 2006 Newsletter

This month’s focus: Giving up on perfectionism                            

Tip of the Month

In most things that we do, “perfect” is both ill-defined and an unnecessarily high standard.

  • Example 1: What would a perfect report look like, anyway? Given how vague that is, how could anyone live up to that standard? And why wouldn’t a “darned good” report be good enough?
  • Example 2: Does anyone really care if your dusting is done to perfection?

And perfectionism can lead to a number of organizing problems.

Perfectionism can keep us in constant procrastination. If we think every choice we make in beginning a new effort must be perfect, we’ll never get started!

Perfectionism can waste a lot of time, making good time management impossible. If we spend an inordinate amount of time perfecting something that doesn’t need perfecting, many other truly important things don’t get done.

Perfectionism can keep us from getting rid of clutter, if we think every item we dispose of must find the perfect new home. Now yes, sometimes we can find someone who just loves whatever it is we’re disposing of, and that’s great. But sometimes it serves us best to just donate items to a good cause, rather than trying to find a perfect owner for each one individually.

In Messie No More, Sandra Felton wrote about this goal: to become a successful average housekeeper. As she points out, “Done is better than perfect.”

Quote of the Month

Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.
(Usual translation: The perfect is the enemy of the good.)
— Voltaire

Second Quote of the Month

Give up on yourself. Begin taking action now, while being neurotic or imperfect, or a procrastinator or unhealthy or lazy or any other label by which you inaccurately describe yourself. Go ahead and be the best imperfect person you can be and get started on those things you want to accomplish before you die.
— Shoma Morita